Why every social media manager should be over 25 part two
I imagine that the poor student who claimed recently that every social media manager should be under twenty-five years of age has now retreated into a cave or something after being lambasted throughout the internet for her ill-considered article.
As one of the lambasters (which I’m sure isn’t a real word) I thought I’d follow up on my previous article and rant about what a social media manager should be – at any age.
The first clue is in the job title – ‘manager’. A social media manager needs to … um … manage. And that doesn’t mean manage a Facebook page. (The writer seemed to believe that the only social media available were Facebook and Twitter). It means that they have to have a great deal of experience in managing promotions, campaigns, budgets, advertising media and people. (The ‘social’ and ‘media’ words are more clues). I can teach anyone how to manage a Facebook page in one simple article. Those other matters would take years of hands-on experience so I can’t teach that. Sorry.
Which leads me onto that issue – experience. If you’re looking for a social media manager, you’ll want to look for someone with a proven marketing and sales career. After all, the correct terms should really be ‘social media marketing manager’. If you’re planning to use social media, you are going to use it for marketing in several different ways. Social media will become a method of protecting your internet reputation, a way of handling customer relations issues, a platform for promoting your business to the correct audience, a means of connecting and interacting with potential clients, a way of reinforcing your brand … and adding value to those people who have honored your company or organization by following you.
Your social media marketing manager will be able to supply you with weekly reports about their activities. They will be able to show you how many people have visited your website as a result of social media. They’ll be able to demonstrate how they have interacted with your clients and potential clients. They will be adept at collecting data – quickly and effectively, you don’t want this to take up too much of their time. A weekly report should take no longer than an hour to produce as an experienced person will be able to collect the data as it happens. In short, they will be able to justify your faith in them on a weekly basis and demonstrate exactly why it is that you employ them. The average full-time social media manager earns about a grand a week – are they producing this in value to you?
Employ someone who has a very sound knowledge of internet promotions and all the latest developments in social media and internet promotion. (For example, if the words ‘penguin’ and panda’ makes them think of animals, they are not the person for you. I’m not kidding). This person will understand how your social media will be found and what impression it gives to the world. Your employee will understand the importance of search engines – not just Google, Bing and Yahoo – but also the search facilities offered on various social media sites. Are posts, pins, shares and tweets optimized for these?
Your social media manager has another hat (or series of hats) that they need to wear. Social media is becoming increasingly visual. Anyone who is in charge of social media accounts should be able to produce great graphics and fantastic photographs. One glance at any social medium will show you that photographs are shared (retweeted, repinned etc) more than any other type of content. This doesn’t mean that literacy isn’t important. Your employee must be able to write informative blogs about your business. In the case of a full-time manager, this should be at least one post every day (seven days a week, social media isn’t a five days a week job).
When you are interviewing for the position, make sure that you check out social media that your candidate has created and run. (Not just their own Facebook page! See what they have done for clients on at least four media). Ensure that they respond and interact. Ensure that the content they post adds value to their followers. Are questions left unanswered? Check out the blog posts they write. Make sure that they use original content. Ask them what curation services they recommend for your business. Ask them what tools they use for social media. Do they use stock images or do they use original photographs and graphics? How much time do they spend on their own social media accounts? If it’s a lot, remember that they will probably use the time you’re paying for to chat with their friends.
Ask your candidate what they are going to do to integrate your social media with your website and your offline marketing methods. (If they suggest putting a huge ‘like us on Facebook’ icon on your website, show them the door). Alarm bells should ring if they say that they require a budget. An experienced social media marketing manager will have all the tools and equipment they need. If they suggest that you need a phone app (and they just happen to know someone who can do it for you) or spend any additional money other than their own salary, you’re talking to the wrong person. If they suggest that you need to make your website phone-friendly, they are correct. But they should be able to do the job themselves. Ask them how they are going to use QR codes (if they suggest having one on your TV ads or your website, tell them ‘don’t ring us, we’ll ring you).
When you have appointed your social media manager, keep a close eye on what they are doing. In my opinion, it’s perfectly legitimate for an employer to check an employee’s browsing history at the end of the day. (Although an experienced manager is probably using his or her phone more than a computer). Watch how they interact on social media and with your staff. How do they integrate their work with your advertising agency, PR people and webmaster? Statistically, the chances are that you’ve employed someone who isn’t the expert you’ve been led to believe. Watch for amateur signs such as posting Facebook updates automatically to Twitter, posting motivational quotes, posting links with no explanation, posting the same message repeatedly, setting up automated messages and so on.
If you can find someone under twenty five who can fulfill those criteria, then go ahead! But I can promise you that you’ll be paying for their social media education. And you’ll be risking your business’ reputation. Let’s put it this way – imagine that you need surgery; the removal of your appendix. Would you let a twenty-five year old newly-qualified, inexperienced, unsupervised doctor do that? Of course not. And you shouldn’t leave your company’s reputation and your brand in the hands of an inexperienced, unsupervised person either.
One thing that the writer of the social-media-managers-should-be-under-25 article said was that businesses make a mistake when they ask for someone with ten years experience in social media. She says this is crazy because no-one has been using social media for ten years. This is complete stuff and nonsense. When she was nine years old, I created and ran a social media website. By the time Facebook came along, five years later (when she was fourteen) I was still running it and had developed another highly successful social media site. So you see, it is perfectly possible to have experience spanning much more than ten years.
The kids of today …